Tag Archive | neck-piece

Summers by The Sea: neck-piece

Summers by the Sea by Christen Brown

Summers by the Sea by Christen Brown

After graduating High School, I spent one glorious year on Catalina Island working as the Crafts Director at a YMCA camp. This was the perfect place for someone who enjoys the ocean, the creatures within, and the treasures that often wash ashore. Not to mention that it was a great place to think about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

Many of the bits and pieces in this neck-piece were gathered during that year. The most prominent shells are the “button shells” which are from the cowrie shell family. They are very rare, and only found in certain locations, one being at Button Shell Beach, which was the name of the cove where the camp was located.

Summers by the Sea was created with the free form peyote stitch in a pallet of soft colors provided by the sea, air and shore. Vintage and new glass seed beads and novelty shaped beads are stitched to simulate rivers and clusters of treasures washed up along with the sea foam. Other beads and items that I used were: fresh water pearls; “tiny” green abalone shells (these I purchased at a store in Avalon); brown muscle shell charms and beads; abalone shells and chips.

A few years ago my husband and I attended a Jazz festival held in the Casino ballroom. This was the first time that I had been back to the island in 32 years. I found the island still lovely, quiet and quaint, with some new growth which was to be expected. I still felt the old attractions of my longing for the sea, the shore and the solitude that I found here so many years ago. I have this necklace as a reminder and inspiration to never let go of my dreams!

Happy and Joyous Stitching! Christen

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride: necklace with vintage buttons

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride by Christen Brown

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride by Christen Brown

“It’s never the wrong time to call on Toad.
Early or late he’s always the same fellow.
Always good-tempered, always glad to see you, always sorry when you go!”
excerpt from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

I really loved the illustrations, the title and the characters of this book. Oddly enough though this happens to be my least favorite ride at Disneyland and my husband and daughter’s favorite ride. I am not sure what comment this makes about us, (perhaps it is the fact that they both deal with chaos better than I), but I still think that it is a wonderful book.

This entire ensemble was created to display the gorgeous black glass buttons, one from the Victorian era, mixed with vintage sterling buttons and new picture buttons Dorothy (for my daughter) and Albert (for my husband) at the top of the picture.

The vintage green glass leaves were made in Japan and the round red glass beads were made in Czechoslovakia. Other beads and charms add a fun color mix which was actually inspired by an old set of bark cloth curtains that my grandmother owned. I wear this with a short sleeved jacket that was made with the bark cloth which also bears the name, “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”.

Bracelets: Toad Greens, Czech It Out, African Stripes

Bracelets: Toad Greens, Check It Out, African Stripes

“Toad Greens” is chock full of vintage glass beads from Japan and Germany. “African Stripes” is made with vintage African Trade beads. The beads in both bracelets were strung on Soft Flex, with crimp beads on the end.

The middle bracelet “Check it Out” is made from the “Chantilly Laced Buttons” pattern using vintage Czech glass and Victorian “mourning” glass buttons with glass seed beads. I had been collecting these buttons for both the necklace, where I used my “Vintage Bling Bling” pattern and this bracelet for many years, and am happy to say they are at home now.

Happy Stitching! Christen